Movidius Raises $40 Million to Open IoT's Eyes

The company ramps up its efforts to imbue the Internet of Things with sight using its low-power visual processor technology.

Movidius, a San Mateo, Calif.-based computer-based imaging specialist, announced today that it had raised $40 million to advance its visual processing technology. And centered in its sights is the fast-growing market for smart devices and sensors that plug into the Internet of Things (IoT).

Summit Bridge Capital, an alliance between Atlantic Bridge Capital and WestSummit Capital, led the financing round. Other backers include AIB Seed Capital Fund, Capital-E, DFJ Esprit and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.

Movidius' claim to fame is its Myriad vision processing system-on-chip (SoC) platform. Currently in its second generation, the low-power chip can be used in smartphones and tablets, enabling them to extract and analyze visual information from the world around them.

Another area the company is eyeing: enterprise wearables.

In December, Movidius' CEO Remi El-Ouazzane told Datamation that "vision-based wearables will see similar success in industries like healthcare and repair service industries (like automotive or electronics)," just like mobile devices had gained acceptance in those fields before them. "While consumer devices may require an ecosystem of applications and a significant number of features to take hold in the market, enterprise companies may start budgeting for this technology once they realize the opportunity to bring greater efficiency to their businesses."

Movidius is also a Project Tango technology partner, Google's effort to bring spatial perception to Android devices. The technology uses a device's motion sensors and cameras to detect the physical world and map out its contours. Using motion tracking, depth perception and vision-based area learning techniques, Google envisions Project Tango-based application experiences that augment reality in innovative ways.

Today, Movidius, a fabless semiconductor company, is looking to capitalize on IoT's expected growth. Last year, Gartner forecast that by 26 billion devices will light up the IoT by 2020.

"This financing will enable Movidius to seize the market opportunity, working with its partners to fuel innovation and business growth in visually intelligent devices," said the company in its funding announcement.

El-Ouazzane remarked that the "infusion of capital provides us with the resources to expand strategically, innovate constantly and extend our market leadership," in a statement. His company's tech represents an "entirely new class of cost-effective, low power and high performance processors, software and development tools, and this platform enables our customers to implement visual sensing that aims to mirror human vision capabilities," he added.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tags: internet of things, IoT

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